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“Must see, amazing and very very very interesting”
Review of Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace
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Dolmabahce Palace Tour in Istanbul
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Istanbul Two Continents Tour Including Dolmabahçe Palace and Bosphorus...
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Istanbul Small-Group Tour Including Dolmabahce Palace and Luxury Transport
Ranked #10 of 1,103 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This palace was built in the mid 1800s to replace an earlier structure that was made of wood. The new palace incorporated sixteen separate buildings with stables, a flour mill and a clock tower among them.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

Till date, from all my travel, this has been the best palace I have visited. Its allowed only as part of a tour group and therefore, we could visit it as part of the Bosphorus Cruise Tour. I would highly recommend a tourist to visit this place

Thank Laveena_Gomes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,096 - 2,100 of 5,433 reviews

Reviewed March 9, 2014

The tickets are fairly expensive (40tl), the wait is long and the tours are way too big. Impossible to hear the guide if you are at the back. It was a cold, rainy, miserable day and we had to wait in the rain for about 30 minutes. It is an impressive palace and gives you a real sense of what it was like to live there in the late 1800's and early 1900's. It's worth seeing, but go early and on a nice day. The gardens are quite lovely.

Thank Andrea S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2014

Really great visit and loads of detail - we also extended by adding the Harem visit (far better than the Topkapi !) - beautiful place

Thank GlenLoan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2014

I was reading the negative reviews and have to agree that some parts of a visit to Dolmabahce are not very pleasant. The lines are indeed very long, it is quite expensive, photography is not allowed inside the buildings and the guided tours leave a lot to be desired. They will kill you with numbers and measurements, which no one remembers in the end.
If you visit, you will wait to buy tickets, wait to start a tour of the selamlık, wait for other groups, wait for your fellow tour members to look at the rooms, wait to start a tour of the harem and so on.
There is also a maximum number of visitors allowed every day, I think it's 3000 so tickets will sell out very fast. Organized groups and Turkish citizens are "privileged" and those lines will usually be shorter.

However, once you get inside, you might understand these aspects. It seems that Istanbul takes great pride in this palace and everything inside and around it. It was the place where Atatürk died and he is revered.

Also, the opulence is indescribable. Where else would you find a crystal staircase, ceilings of gold and the biggest Bohemian crystal chandelier in the world? Not a lot of places, that's for sure. So this palace is truly a great treasure. The details, both on the outside and in are absolutely stunning. There are things to look at in every corner of every room. The decor is simply marvelous, the riches are mindblowing. A 40-minute tour will leave you dizzy if you just look at everything.

A palace of this sort needs to be well taken care of. Preservation and restoration - expensive. Cleaning the artifacts is not an easy task. One man alone simply cannot take down a 4,5 ton chandelier and clean it in a jiffy. Thus the 40 lire entrance fee. Thus the silly plastic shoes one has to wear so that the marble and carpets don't wear down. Thus the no photo policy as a lot of people act ignorantly and use flash all the time. Thus the organized tours as a lot of people simply don't know how to behave and will run around touching, grabbing or disrespecting.

You can visit both main buildings or only one of them, depending on your interest, budget and time. The harem is not as impressive as the selamlık but I personally found it worthy of my time and money. It's a great look into the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century, as it is quite different from earlier periods.
The gardens are beautiful in summertime and even in the fall. You can also get great looks of the exterior by taking a boat tour on the Bosphorus, you will pass by the palace and see it as a whole from afar.

Get informed before your visit. Check out opening hours and prices, get there early and get ready to wait. If I'm not mistaken, there is wheelchair access and I also saw a lot families with strollers. I think that if you keep an open mind and ignore the few imperfections of a tour, you will definitely get a lot from a visit to Dolmabahçe. I most certainly did!

1  Thank cristinablendea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2014

Long queues! But well worth the wait The room interiors are well maintained and the decor very bright and perhaps gaudy

Thank paulquill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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